How To Use Nostalgia In Your Social Media Marketing

Taking A Pic of Tall BuildingSocial media starting getting into gear in the mid to late 2000s.

There had been a number of online places where people would come to kind of hangout and interact. We always had forums and message boards and chatting apps, but social media and social networks started getting big around 2006-2007.

Facebook was and still is the big one. Twitter was pretty hot on Facebook’s heels around 2007-2008. Those two have been the biggies and others have come along like Pinterest, Instagram and even SnapChat.

I first remember it happen on Twitter, but sometime around 2006-2007 it looks like is when Throwback Thursday or #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT came around.

The thing is that people will post things from their past like photos, stories and things like that. It’s been a big thing and maybe isn’t as big anymore, but if you look at that hashtag on Twitter it still has a ton of updates.

Here are just a few recent #TBT tweets:

Celebrities, brands, businesses and individuals use this hashtag all the time. There has to be something about nostalgia that resonates with people and I think it’s a way to generate some engagement if you’re looking to boost things with your social media efforts.

What Is Nostalgia?

The basic definition of nostalgia is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past. So you’re thinking back about a great experience you’ve had or something you’ve done that made you really happy.

I’m sure most of us do that from time to time. Some probably do it more often than others and some probably rarely think back because they’re always looking forward.

It has been thought that nostalgia was a negative emotion, but recently there have been findings that it’s a good thing. And it seems especially good when we’re going through difficult times.

One story is that nostalgia was common in the 18th and 19th centuries in the US after quite a few individuals immigrated to the US. They were thinking about the good experiences they had back in their homelands while going through the difficult transition in the US.

But it wasn’t that those people all wanted to go back. They had come to the US for a reason, but when things would get difficult they would think back on good times, enjoy that feeling and then go forward with their lives.

So it looks like there can be a sweet spot for nostalgia and it does make people feel good. And it typically makes most people feel good. It’s a universal feeling so using it on a social channel can be a great way to engage your followers.

Here are a few tips on how to do that.

Nostalgia Tip #1. Use Music

In that story in the NY Times linked above it was found that music is a great tool for bringing about nostalgia. And that makes a lot of sense. Many people have moments of looking back on good times when they hear a song that was popular or playing during that positive memory.

I had this friend in college who came back from the summer back home and all during the school season he would play the song Where Is The Love by Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake. It was a good song, but for him it was something more. He said he had a great summer working at a fun job and hanging out with friends just about every day and that song was one of the big songs that summer.

So whenever he heard that song it made him think back to those times.

You can share songs from the past and kind of bring out emotions from your followers. Share a song and tell them a story of what it reminds you of or share what you were doing when the song was out.

Nostalgia Tip #2. Photos & Videos

You’ll see a lot of photos and videos in the #TBT feed on Twitter. Sports brands and teams and players will share video highlights of past games and fans will love it.

I love seeing the old photos of family, friends and even celebrities sometimes showing something from their past. It might be embarrassing like the clothes you were wearing or what you were doing or something like that, but it usually brings back a positive emotion.

I remember loving this one photo of my favorite golfer, John Daly, from when he played with a really young Tiger Woods at some junior event:

Nostalgia Tip #3. Stories

Finally, just sharing stories can bring about good feelings in people. It can really be any type of story, but something that was fun or funny can really make people feel good about their own past.

The thing with stories is that it can sometimes seem like you’re just telling your own story and that nobody will really relate to it. But people can hear your story and it will bring about moments from their past that can make them feel good.

It’s like telling a story about your summer love and it will make someone else remember a story they had about their summer love.


Nostalgia is very common in our world. We see it all the time in our everyday interactions with people and that includes on social media. You can tap into the nostalgia on social media and increase your engagement. And it doesn’t really take too much effort. You can easily share a song or video and you probably have some old photos that people would love to see. And it will make your followers feel good and that’s the best kind of engagement on social media.

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